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CUC hopes to collect from delinquent customers so it can buy new power engine

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THE acquisition of a new power engine 8 has been temporarily set aside because the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. prioritized the repair and maintenance of its existing engines, CUC Executive Director Gary Camacho said.

“We’re now waiting for [additional] funding,” he added. “We don’t have the money…for the purchase of a [new] engine,” which will cost $12 million.

Camacho said CUC has not been paid by some of its major clients including government agencies like the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.

In October, he said he met with CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna to discuss a payment scheme.

He said CUC also sent a letter to Muna who has yet to reply, he added.

As of Nov. 2019, CHCC owed CUC $32 million.

“I’m hopeful that [CHCC] can start making some payments,” Camacho said.

A contractor who arrived on island in December was assisted by CUC engineers to expedite the repair of some of the broken engines, Camacho said.

The repair of engine number 6, he added, been completed and is now operational.

“Our staff have been diligent, working late nights and through weekends,” he added.

The bids submitted by interested contractors for the repair of engines 5 and 7 are now being reviewed, Camacho said.

Besides acquiring a new engine 8, he said the public utility must also replace engine 4.

“These are 40-year-old engines and we need to replace them,” he added referring to engines 4 and 8.

Last year, the CUC board authorized an emergency procurement to address the major overhaul of CUC’s power engines 5, 6, and 7, and the acquisition of a temporary power supply.

In December, CUC signed a $1.5 million, 90-day contract with U.K.-based Aggreko, which will provide temporary electric power starting this month.

Camacho said the temporary power supply will allow CUC to overhaul and repair its generators and engines.

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